Books We Are Using This Year
  • The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    by Jeff West,S. Wise Bauer,Jeff (ILT) West, Susan Wise Bauer
  • Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    by Bernard J Nebel PhD
  • Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    by Steven P. Demme
  • First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    by -Author-
  • Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    by Mona Brookes
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Entries in dinosaurs (4)


Dinosaurs and the mesozoic era (resource list)

Dinosaurs and the mesozoic era, October-November 2011

Topics of focus:
Evolution of dinosaurs
Plate tectonics
Environmental fluctuation
Extinction of dinosaurs and onset of mammalian age

Books (fiction):
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House), by Mary Pope Osborne
Time Flies, by Eric Rohmann
The Magic School Bus in the Time of Dinosaurs, by Joanna Cole

Books (non-fiction):
We continued to use many of the books from the Evolution and the beginning of time resource list
Dinosaur (DK Eyewitness), by David Lambert (review)
Dinosaurs: A Non-fiction Companion...(Magic Tree House), by Mary Pope Osborne (review)
Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs
Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs (pop-up), by Robert Sabuda
Evolution: The Story of Life, by Douglas Palmer
From Lava to Life: The Universe Tells our Earth Story, Book 2, by Jennifer Morgan (review)
Great Prehistoric Search, by Jane Bingham (review)
Voyages Through Time: The Beginning, by Peter Ackroyd (review)

Allosaurus: A Walking with Dinosaurs Special (BBC)
Dinsaurs Unearthed (National Geographic)
Walking With Dinosaurs (BBC)

Websites/computer resources:
Back in Time (iPad app)
March of the Dinosaurs (iPad app)
Britannica Kids: Dinosaurs (iPad app)
Plate tectonic timeline (HSU Natural History Museum website)

Other fun things:
Dinosaur puzzle (Melissa and Doug)
The Days of the Dinosaur Coloring Book (Dover, by Matthew Kalmenoff)
Usorne Dinosaur Stencil Book, by Alice Pearcey
How to Draw Dinosaurs, by Frank C. Smith
Magic School Bus: Back in Time With the Dinosaurs (The Young Scientist Club)

Activity list:
Reading, reading, reading
Drawing, drawing, drawing, and coloring, too
Researching a few specific creatures and adding them to our felt collection
Continuing the timeline (and playing with it)
Making up our own dinosaurs and giving them Latin names.
Visiting our local Natural History Museum (University of Michigan)


Weekly book shelf 10/8, Dinosaurs

We've now moved from the Paleozoic Era to the Mesozoic Era where our focus has been on dinosaurs and their rise to world domination and power. Intense, huh? Even more fun, though, is to take note of the little mammals waiting in the wings.

Dinosaurs Magic Tree House Research Guide and Dinosaurs Before Dark were of course favorites this week. Calvin is fond of the Magic Tree House series, and I think they make good supplements, especially the fiction books. Toned down more than most, the research guide is still a bit of a mess with varied fonts and some pages scattered with information and images. The illustrations are a bit cartoony, but still, the information is presented in a clear and readable way aimed at young children without talking down to them.

Dinosaurs Eye Openers by Angela Royston is definitely for a younger reader than the rest of the books here, but Calvin still enjoyed it. This is basically a dinosaur fact book highlighting eight different well-known species, like stegasaurus and triceratops. One dinosaur per two page spread with a paragraph of information in a relatively large font size, one main large picture of either a dino recreation or a skeleton, and a number of smaller sketches. The best part about this book is its simplicity, especially for young kids.

The Usborne Discovery: Dinosaurs book is a standard Usborne internet linked reference book. It's a bit jumbled and a little hot with a variety of images and image sizes on each page, and the information is presented not in paragraph or essay form but in short captions or blips. Some images are photos of dinosaure replicas, others are illustrations. Some spreads are about dinosaurs in general while others focus on specific species. We didn't use this one very much, and I didn't check out the interenet links at all, but Calvin enjoyed flipping through it.

Eyewitness Books: Dinosaur is a standard DK Eyewitness book with way too much going on. Lots of images and short blips or captions, but the information lacks a clear path and is presented in a hot or haphazzard manner. Still I find these books good for flipping through from time to time because the pictures can be fascinating.


The Great Prehistoric Search is a really fun search and find book with facts thrown in. Like Where's Waldo only much easier, each two page spread is a detailed and beautiful illustration with a list of things to look for or find. Each beautiful scene is created with creatures from a single time and location, and those creatures are listed along the sides with small images and a sentence of description or a fact about. The scenes actually start back in the Cambrian Period, and end in the Pleistocene Epoch. The first few pages are infomraton on evolution and the timeline, though they aren't particularly informative. The images are wonderful and the searches are fun, though not overly challenging. This is a big hit with Calvin.


Journal entry—Natural History Museum


Weekly book shelf, 7/30

And I'm posting it on time! So only a few days after last week's. Oh well. It's actually the last week of the library summer reading program (since most people around here get out of town for the last month before school). I'm sorry to see it go only in the sense that for the past six weeks I've had at least some of his weekly reading at my fingertips to post right here. Without that list he can be hard to keep up with.

What Calvin read to himself this week...Sunset of the Sabertooth is yet another Magic Tree House book. He said to me after he finished it that he wanted to read Dinosaurs before Dawn again next because he LOVES that book. I love to hear him say that. The Boats on the River is a beautiful book about boats on a river by a town by the sea. It has flowing, lyrical language just like that, and uses repetitive language, rhyme and rhythm to build sentences. It's good old 1940s, right down to the illustrations. Makes me think of Virginia Burton. It's a big winner with us.

Changes, Changes is a wordless picture book that follows two wooden dolls who continuously refashion the blocks around them in new and imaginative ways to escape tough situations. They begin, for instance, in a block house, but when the house catches on fire they take part of the house blocks and build a fire engine to put out the fire, which creates a lake, so then they turn the blocks into a boat, and so on. This has been a favorite in our house for a while and was rediscovered this past week (we didn't actually include this book on his reading list for the library, since there were no words, but I thought it was better than listing yet another Tree House book here!).

And Hidden Dinosaurs is a rhyming book about paleontology, a fact book about dinosaurs, and a hidden picture book, all rolled into every page. This is by the man we met at the library on Friday and he signed the books for the kids after the program. Calvin, who is now on a dinosaur kick thanks to "PaleoJoe," is delighted with this book, and I think it is well done.

Calvin also started reading Mr. Popper's Penguins this week. We're doing a sort of FIAR unit style reading of this book. He's reading it to himself, but then we're talking about the chapters and learning more about things as we go, like penguins.

What we read together this week...I like Song of the Swallows because it is just a beautiful story. Many books try to teach lessons, but this one is just a sweet story about a little boy who loves the swallows that nest in the gardens near his home. When they fly to their winter nesting grounds he misses them, but prepares the gardens for their returns, adding a beautiful place for them at his own house so some will come nest there, which they do. Printed music to go with a song that he sings is also in the story/book. Another 1940s treasure! We are also rereading some of the Magical Monarch of Mo this week.

On my shelf this week...nothing new. I am just starting The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells, and am still making headway on my second trip through Swann's Way, by Marcel Proust. I've started a new reading blog called Finding Time for Proust on Blogger (starting post here) where I'm keeping all my book notes, mostly from Proust right now, but I also post notes and reivews from the other books I read as well.